2017 Nissan Titan Pro-4X: Tailgate party review
I grew up a couple of miles from the Oakland Coliseum, where the Athletics have played since moving there from Kansas City in 1968, and I have been involved with organizing many tailgate parties in the Coliseum North Parking lot over the decades. The vehicles involved have varied greatly, including those with actual tailgates (1988 Toyota Hilux, 1994 Volvo 740 Turbo, 1992 Honda Civic hatchback) and those with four doors and a trunk (2004 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, 1967 Plymouth Belvedere, 1978 Pontiac Bonneville). I no longer live in California, but I still fly out every year for the A’s home opener and help put on a big tailgating event. This year, I decided that I would be a real American and get a great big Mississippi-built truck for our celebration of baseball, burned meat, and freezing-cold winds off the San Francisco Bay.
We were there the moment the lot opened and were among the first to set up our party infrastructure.
During the last 15 years or so, I have been putting on Oakland Coliseum tailgate parties with my brother-in-law, Jim. Jim and I once used his ’88 Toyota pickup for all tailgating duties, but family requirements caused a Toyota Sienna minivan to upstage the old Hilux in his fleet. The plan for the 2017 A’s opener tailgate party was that we’d bring both the Titan and the Sienna, loading all the gear into the Titan and hauling the kids in the Sienna. We showed up early to the Coliseum lot, so as to get all the infrastructure in place before the few dozen guests arrived, and took a mere three spaces with our two vehicles.
So much for the plan of hauling all the gear in the Titan.
Unfortunately, my load-up-the-Titan plan fell apart when Jim monkey-puzzled everything— including the stone lion at lower right, used to anchor the pop-up canopy against the wind off the Bay— into the Sienna before I even unlocked the Titan, just out of habit. I put a couple of folding tables in the back of the Titan, just to haul something in it, but once again the modern minivan proves itself to be the most all-around capable motor vehicle you can buy. Anyway, the Titan could have fit all this stuff, no problem.
Incomprehensible rituals in the California sun.
We put up a big DON’T RETREAD ON ME flag (obtained from some 24 Hours of LeMons Fiero racers) to make our compound easy to find, and the guests started streaming in.
The differences between an Oakland A’s parking-lot party and an Oakland Raiders parking-lot party are pretty vivid.
Grilles were hot, beer was cold, and live music played. I kept hoping that our own party guests, or maybe just passersby, would comment on the Cayenne Red Titan in our compound, but none did.
The tailgate on the Titan Pro-4X is a bit high for comfortable seating, but these party guests were willing to try it out.
While many of our guests were impressed by the opulent and roomy leather-upholstered interior of the Titan, its tailgate was just too high off the ground to make for comfortable cooking or even sitting. Finally, I asked some guests to give the Titan’s tailgate a try, and they seemed to enjoy the seating once they’d climbed aboard. Still, modern pickups tend to be less good for this sort of thing than their ancestors were.
The Titan’s audio system was very effective for tailgate party entertainment.
The Rockford Fosgate 12-speaker audio system of the Titan (part of the optional $1,820 Pro-4X Utility and Tow Package) excelled at drowning out the live bands and boomboxes of our party neighbors with some bass-heavy dub.
The Utili-Track cargo system proved to be massive overkill when anchoring our pop-up canopy, but it worked.
The Oakland Coliseum is located right next to the San Francisco Bay, in a spot that tends to get gusts of wind strong enough to blow your tailgate-essential pop-up canopy right into the Western Colloid yard across the train tracks, so the Utili-Track cargo tie-downs in the Titan supplanted the stone lion we’d brought and did a better job of anchoring the pop-up than our usual method (tie it to suspension components).
After six hours of grilling and socializing, the game itself. A’s beat their hated rivals, the Angels, 4-2.
Eventually, it was game time. We loaded everything except the hot grilles into the minivan (we use bicycle locks to chain the grilles to the Sienna’s wheels), because stuff left in pickup beds during a game at the Coliseum tends to disappear. Once again, the minivan triumphs over the pickup when it comes to tailgate-party utility.
It has a presence.
OK, so a minivan makes a better tailgate vehicle than a full-sized pickup, which came as something of a surprise to me. The day after the tailgate party, I decided to use the Titan in the manner of most full-sized pickup owners: commuting in heavy freeway traffic on ill-maintained highways. Departing at the height of Bay Area rush hour, I headed south to some of my favorite self-service wrecking yards.
The Dreaded Nimitz Freeway™
The ride was bouncy, as one would expect from a big ol’ truck, but I stayed quite comfortable in the leather seat (which you get with the $3,520 Pro-X Convenience Package) and enjoyed a pleasant sense of isolation from the road-ragers and swerving space-saver-spare-equipped ’93 Tauruses that make California highway driving so miserable. The 390-horse V8 hauled the two-and-a-half-ton Nissan well enough, although the transmission seemed reluctant to downshift under enthusiastic gas-pedal application. Overall, this is a truck that could be lived with as a daily driver, though feeding it on long commutes might get expensive.
All the best trips involve taco-truck food.
My junkyard journeys in the Titan were very successful, netting me photographs of such wrecking-yard rarities as an Oldsmobile Quad 442 and a final-year-of-production Ford EXP. As for the Tailgate Party Review of this truck, I learned that a full-sized pickup, Titan or otherwise, isn’t the ideal vehicle for serious tailgate partying; next time I’ll take a Nissan NV.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $45,020
As Tested Price: $52,305
Drivetrain: 5.6-liter V8, 7-speed automatic transmission, 2WD/4WD
Output: 390 hp @5,8000 rpm; 394 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Curb Weight: 5,511 lbs
Fuel Economy: 15/20/17 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Observed Fuel Economy: 13 mpg
Options: Pro-4X Utility and Tow Package, $1,820; Pro-4X Convenience Package, $3,520; Pro-4X Luxury Package; $750; Destination charges, $1,195
Pros: Suitable for all your Big Tough Truck needs
Cons: A minivan is better in 99 percent of situations